The Reunification of Theology and Comparison in the New Comparative Theology

Hugh Nicholson

in Comparative Theology and the Problem of Religious Rivalry

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780199772865
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199897315 | DOI:

Series: AAR Reflection and Theory in the Study of Religion Series

The Reunification of Theology and Comparison in the New Comparative Theology

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This chapter examines the relationship between contemporary comparative theology and the theology of religions in light of their common genealogy in the comparative theology in the nineteenth-century. The latter typically combines sincere claims of scientific objectivity and impartiality with blatantly tendentious and inaccurate characterizations of non-Christian religions. A familiarity with this older comparative theology contains an implicit warning against the facile assumption that the current impasse in the theology of religions can be overcome simply by supplementing a priori theological reflection with an empirical study of other religions. More constructively, this chapter argues that the reunification of theology and comparison in the new comparative theology negates the oppositional contrast between the comparative study of religion and theology by which the former discipline has often legitimated itself as an objective, “scientific” discipline. This tendency of scholars of religion to project a theological other has paradoxically blinded the discipline of comparative religion to its own normative presuppositions.

Keywords: theology of religions; comparative theology; comparative religion; reunification

Chapter.  11460 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: East Asian Religions

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